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Shipwrecked Piece of Eight - 12g Silver Spanish Real C

Shipwrecked Piece of Eight - 12g Silver Spanish Real C

Tales of pirates looting Spanish galleons have entertained us for centuries, but the Spanish lost far more vessels to storms. The Nuestra Senora de la Concepción, a flagship of the Spanish navy, left Havana in September of 1641 at the head of a 21-ship fleet and carrying 100 tons of silver and gold. A hurricane struck almost immediately, hobbling the ship, which then drifted into the reefs and shoals along the Florida coast.

This specimen is a 12g silver coin from the wreck of the Concepción recovered in 1978 by Burt Webber, Jr. protégé of the great treasure hunter Mel Fisher. The real de a ocho, or Spanish "pieces of eight", was created in 1497 and went on to become the world's first global currency.

These silver coins were ubiquitous for traders between the Old and New Worlds. From their inception and up into the 19th century, they were a commonly used trading tool among ports on either side of the Atlantic. Their nickname comes from the practice of splitting the coin into eighths, which divided the inherent value of the silver.

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